By Deborah J. Sergeant
Maybe you’re not the next Mark Zuckerberg. That’s OK. You can still run a business from your dorm to earn some money for school expenses and build experience in business. Instead of doing all the work to build a new idea, brand recognition, sales program and products, a turnkey business is all set to go. Direct selling to other students can provide an easy way to build a business based on word-of-mouth.
• Young Living (www.youngliving.com) requires a $160 starter kit that reps need to get the business rolling. Plus, they receive free shipping and discounts on shipping. Essential oils are a hot trend now, which makes Young Living an easy way to make money from the dorm. Plus, the tiny bottles are easy to store for reps to keep popular oils in stock.
• Avon (www.avon.com), offering cosmetics, skincare products and gifts, requires one of the lowest starting kit costs around — $25 — and reps that meet sales goals keep 40 percent of sales. Plus it’s hard to knock its name recognition. Representatives don’t need to store stock, as representatives supply customers on demand.
• Kaeser & Blair (https://kaeser-blair.com) sells promotional products which many student groups may want to boost interest in their endeavors. The $85 start-up cost is pretty reasonable. The company also refunds the $85 after representatives sell $1,500 in merchandise. Companies constantly need promotional products (such as notepads, cups, banners and apparel) imprinted with logos and taglines. According to the website, representatives who make one sale per week make an average of $157.
• Scentsy (www.thrivingcandlebusiness.com) sells flameless candle melts, wax warmers and accessories. Consultants may start for $99 and can earn 20 to 36 percent commission.
Once you select a direct sales business, try these tips for success:
• While you may plan to market your business on social media, word-of-mouth and print can also provide great leads.
• Samples can generate buzz.
• Leave business cards or flyers available in your room if people stop by while you’re out. Look for places on campus that you can leave a stack as well, such as common areas or bulletin boards.
• Use the resources the company offers for building your business.
• Whenever possible, use your company’s products, not only to show them to others, but also because it can help boost your sales.